Alexandra Kuechenberg in her Brooklyn studio with four works.
Growing up between California and Florida under the long shadow of her father’s athletic successes, Alexandra Kuechenberg was until recently a resident of Miami and an active member within its art scene. Although she contentiously objected to exhibiting save for one appearance in Twenty Twenty Projects’ ‘Shelf Life’ exhibition, Kuechenberg made good headway in her studio with a number of projects in a variety of media, fine tuned her passion for writing, and assisted many artists and collections behind the scenes; namely The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, Matthew Schrieber, The Guggenheim Museum, and James Turrell.
Her art work draws inspiration from Baudrillard, Nietzsche, Camus, Rauschenberg, Duchamp, Klein, and the Viennese Actionists. Often an elegant fusion of intellect, satire, and technical know-how it is tempered with uncertainty. Whether as thoughtful drawings, voyeuristic films or subtle almost invisible sculptures her work affects a feeling within viewers of being intensely burdened by some crippling fact with no means to adjust. And despite its playfulness there is a presiding disquiet; a threatening sense that the control we think we have over the world could slip from our hands at any moment and in an instant devour all semblance of normality in itself.
Toward the end of last year, mid way through production of a series of videos based around mundanity and escapeism and a revival in her painting, Kuechengerg, possibly spurred by themes in her work, left for New York. Continuing out AT LARGE feature in which we catch up with one-time-Miami-based artists to find out what geographic priority if any contemporary artists harbor we caught up with Kuechenberg in the hope that she would provide a) newsworthy responses to our dry open ended questions and b) help us to understand in a round about way why some artists still feel the need to grow beyond Miami.
Bricked Thread Askew, 2009. Thread, glue. Dimensions variable.
Why did you leave?
Was it worth it?
For sure. Not to say that I was welcoming challenge, as I’ve had plenty enough of that, but any change is good change. I detest complacency, and Miami’s topical nature (both physically and psychologically) was beginning to encourage cerebral stagnancy.
Are you coming back?
I believe so, when the moon is right and ambitions fulfilled.
If so why?
Because I adore Miami and all it entails. I loved my way of life there and the people in it. I think it would be a wonderful place to have part time residence. Its an amazing incubator with many resources, opportunities and space for artists and their practices.
360 Degree Smiles, 2009. Ink on paper.
If you have maintained healthy ties to Miami please discuss them stating how this was important.
I have only been gone 3 months, but i try to keep in touch with loved ones. I could probably be better about keeping in touch with my “art-world” contacts. But alas…
Please compare and contrast New York and Miami in an original way.
In NYC I feel like a jack of all trades in a city of specialty. In Miami I felt somewhat defined.
Wall Seam Pull, 2009. Ink, thread, glue. Dimensions variable.
What is the most significant difference you have found between professional practice in Miami and where you are now?
Competition, lack of space and the need to “fake it till you make it”. I’m not one for bullshit or smalltalk, so its interesting to witness the majority of individuals here embellishing their involvements and executions to get ahead of the game. Its also interesting to try to gauge what’s ”real” and what’s not.
Has that affected the way in which you work? If so how?
Absolutely. In Miami I had access to a full studio/shop. In NY, I have my bedroom and an offer of studio access in Hoboken. I have yet to figure out the logistics of acquiring materials and such, so for the most part, working from my loft, I have been making 2d work and video. Things that require few materials and little space. Its a huge change for me, but I dig parameters.
How has your work responded to the change?
See Above. I’ve yet to execute 3d work so far. Im anxious and have many ideas for sculptural work, but have yet to figure out logistics.
Bricked Patch Askew, 2009. Joint compound, paint. Dimensions variable.
Is the scene as incestuous as in Miami?
Yes, but in a much MUCH more complex scenario.
Do you value Miami more or less having moved away?
Oh, ask me in a year. Right now I value the physical environment and elements in Miami more so than when I was there. But that’s obvious.
Are you more stable financially?
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